Tens of thousands of young people across England will be invited to take part in a major new research study this week.

Up to 25,000 teenagers currently aged either 16 or 17 will receive letters asking them and a parent/guardian to answer an online questionnaire about their experiences of the pandemic, as well as their future hopes and plans. The project will be known as ‘Horizons’ to participants.

Their responses will form the first part of the fieldwork for COSMO (the Covid Social Mobility and Opportunities Study), a major new national longitudinal cohort study which will examine the short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the pandemic on educational inequality and social mobility.

The study is the largest of its kind into the effects of the pandemic on the life chances of a generation of young people. It will look at the experiences of young people in every region of England and from a wide range of backgrounds. The study aims to identify challenges facing young people and help policymakers plan how best to respond to them.

Those taking part will be offered a voucher in exchange for their time.

The study is a collaboration between the Sutton Trust, the UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, with fieldwork led by Kantar Public.

Dr Jake Anders, who is principal investigator of the study at CEPEO, said: “We’re very excited to be launching the fieldwork for COSMO. It’s so important to hear from young people themselves on their experience of the pandemic and how it has affected their lives. We are really grateful to everyone who is able to take part in the survey.”

The first findings from the study will be published in early 2022.

If you’ve been invited to take part and would like to find out more, please follow the instructions in your letter.

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